Drones

Drones continue to be a problem and NZALPA is concerned that there needs to be tighter laws around those operating these machines.

Aviation authorities are mounting an unprecedented crackdown on drone operators, with three fined in safety scares.

In one incident a drone flew into the path of a plane at a Taupo airfield.

In another case, Invercargill cameraman Dwayne Carey was amazed to find the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on his doorstep after footage he had taken appeared on the local events website, whatsoninvers.co.nz.

The investigators had a file on him including photos and his Facebook correspondence.

"I actually thought it was a mate playing a prank," Carey said.

Following a nearly three-hour recorded interview he was fined $500 for flying too close to the airport and flying at dusk, and told that if he infringed again he would face serious penalties.

The CAA warns there will be a greater focus on safety when new laws come in this year.

Following the Taupo incident, local gliding club chief flying instructor Bill Kendall is backing tougher regulations. He narrowly avoided colliding with a drone while landing his tow plane last September.

"I first thought it was a harrier hawk. As I got closer I could see the construction of the drone itself, I actually thought it was going to get caught up with my tow rope."

The drone darted out of the way as he was descending and he was able to land safely, he said.